Turn Off the TV, Open a Book

I have been reading a lot this year. As of today, I have completed more than 50 books! Most books I have posted on my Pinterest page, a few short "how-to" e-books I didn't bother posting. I  have really made it a priority to read, mostly during Silas' nap times or in the evenings while Brett is watching baseball. Outside of favorite shows recorded on the DVR, I have almost completely stopped watching TV. I admit that during the Olympics, the TV was on most of the day, but it was the Olympics so I gave myself grace :) I also have made it a habit to read during commercials if Brett and I are watching something on live TV that I'm interested in.

I realized how much the TV was on during the day, mainly as background noise, and it really started to bother me. I don't want Silas to become a TV watcher outside of approved shows or movies. Plus I have become more aware of the advertising. This summer I have been trying to simplify our lives by removing clutter, simplifying toys, trying to eliminate processed foods, and removing sugar from our diets, all of these things commercials directly counter act.

At first I thought it would be hard to not have the TV on as background noise. Being home all day, most everyday can sometimes get lonely. But once I turned the TV off, I turned the radio on and have either K-Love, Pandora, or my favorite CDs on in the background. Having quality music in the background has really been uplifting, especially in the first few months of the pregnancy when I was feeling so sick.  With the TV off, and the music on I am much more likely to read instead of being distracted by something probably useless on TV.

Most everything I have read this year had been worthwhile, there have been a few duds along the way. All of the books I have read have been recommended my other bloggers, or books that I have sinned pinned, or are books that I have been wanting to read for a while. I wanted to share a few of my favorite reads so far this year.

The first book is Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn
Money, Possessions, and Eternity

I can't say that this was an easy read, but it has definitely been the most challenging read of the year. To be honest it was really hard to read for two reasons, the chapters are long, and it is incredibly convicting and powerful. Alcorn pretty much goes against the American dream of saving up lots of money, and buying nice things for yourself. In fact it's quite the opposite. He really challenges the reader to look at money not as "yours" but as God's. I have recommend this book to several family members, and Brett and I have spent a lot of time talking about some of the points I have read.

The second book is The Preacher's Bride by Jodi Hedlund.

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It's a fictional story set in the 1600s Puritan England. It is based largely on the life of John Bunyan and his wife and the trials and persecution they endured. It was definitely a page turner, in fact I started it on a Friday and completed in the next Sunday!

The next book that I really enjoyed was Simplicity Parenting by Dr. Kim John Payne

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Earlier I talked about trying to simplify our home by removing clutter, and trying to eliminate toys, this book touched on that. It also talks about simplifying our schedules, and as Silas gets older really evaluating the activities that he is involved in. The author's main point is that it shouldn't be about stuff (toys, clothes, gadgets, etc.) or activities, but about the intentional time a family spends together.

The next book is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

While there were some things that I didn't agree with in this book, mainly the author dabbles in some Eastern religion philosophies, there was a lot I did enjoy. It was a pretty quick read and I did feel "happy" after I read it :)

A final mention is Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman

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I could completely relate to this book from the title to the contents. I have always felt like a "good girl." I don't drink, I didn't date or sleep around in high school or college (in fact I married my first date :)). Sometimes though I never felt good enough, pretty enough, smart enough even though I was, and still am a complete people pleaser. I avoid confrontation, I am extremely introverted, I'm socially shy when put in situations where I don't know many of the people. In fact I remember once a really good friend tell me she thought I was a snob when she first met me because I was so quiet. She thought I didn't like her! In fact it's usually the opposite, I enjoy the new people I am meeting, I just can't think of an intelligent thing to say!

In Grace for the Good Girl, the author encourages us to remove the masks we've been hiding behind, the "try harder" life we try to live, and to realize that we are free in Christ and the life that he has given to us.

These are just a few of the books that I have read that I feel like I should pass on and recommend to others. I still have quite a few books left on my reading list this year that I'm excited to read. Hopefully I can still keep up with reading after Baby Girl arrives any week now! I'll keep you posted on anymore praise worthy books :)

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